The most harrowing moment in Zero Dark Thirty isn't the out-of-nowhere suicide explosions, the torture sequences, or even the night-vision-laden raid on bin Laden's compound. Instead, it comes about two thirds of the way through and is simply an unassuming middle-aged man knocking on a door.
The door is the entrance to the Abbottabad compound where, supposedly, bin Laden is hiding. The man says he is a polio worker, there to administer vaccines to the kids inside. His ulterior motive, however, is collecting DNA samples in order to find trace amounts of bin Laden ooze, giving the US enough reason to raid the compound. Quickly he's turned away, and that's that. Scene's over. The actor is never seen again in the movie. But because of that short scene and the real events that it portrays, there's a good chance a lot of people are going to get killed.
The CIA conspiracy has not only led to a general phobia of vaccines in the region, but has created a river of blood in Pakistan: Five polio workers were gunned down in mid-December; three more later in the week; seven were killed by the Taliban on New Year's Day; two more were killed late in January by a roadside bomb. And last week, that streak of misplaced vengeance jumped continents to Nigeria, where Islamist militant group Boko Haram gunned down nine female polio workers.
Keep in mind, all of this killing happened before the movie with that little scene could get downloaded, ripped, burned, and copied and into various black-market DVD stands throughout the Middle East. Once that happens, it will only promote the viewpoint that vaccines are not to be trusted, and UN workers are actually American spies that need to be killed. No, the body count is not yet comparable to what Jenny McCarthy hath wrought, but it'll get there soon enough.
On to the roundup!
- A Catholic high school in New Jersey has implemented a “no cursing” rule for their students. Well, half their students, since the males don't have to follow it, only the ladies. Officials there want “ladies to act like ladies.”
- A suicide bomber attacked an Iraqi militia, killing 22 people in what is believed to be an attempt by the Sunni Muslims to piss off the Shi'ite. Later in the week, another 29 people in Shi'ite neighborhoods were killed by a number of car bombs.
- Over in India, the trial of the five men accused of raping and murdering a woman on a New Delhi bus began, with the president giving the OK for prosecutors to go after the death penalty.
- The war between Islamist militants and the French-led coalition in Mali has passed a symbolic checkpoint: The first suicide bomber in the battle blew themselves up. Meanwhile, on the other side of the ledger, French troops have killed hundreds of Islamist fighters thus far.
- A new bill making its way through congress in Iowa would make it a crime to “murder” single-cell zygotes. This means that women who abort pregnancies that were created through rape, and the doctors who perform them, would be jailed. Meanwhile in Alabama, a lawmaker with the unreasonable name of Shadrack McGill is trying to ban all abortions.
- Pakistan was the site of another marketplace bombing, this one killing at least 16 people in the tribal region of Orakzai. Most believe it was the work of the Taliban.
- Speaking of the Taliban, here's an interesting piece from Foreign Policy about how they're using a sexual combination of stick (fervently attacking sex before marriage, leading to a bunch of randy and angry single dudes) and carrot (the promise of banging a bunch in the afterlife) to get their suicide-ready recruits.
- Juan Pierre, “scrappy” outfielder for the Marlins—“scrappy” being a euphemism for “kind of small and not really all that good”—has made himself a website / nonprofit business thingy called “Beast Mode for Christ,” where fans can buy pro-Christ T-shirts and bracelets to show off their Jesus-y sensibilities.
- A former Catholic priest who was repeatedly accused of molesting kids has apparently been working for the LA Unified School District for the past decade or so.
- The Obama administration made their legal case for murdering a US citizen if “an informed, high-level official” of the government believes that person is a member of al Qaeda. This whole thing echoes of George W. Bush's lawyer-shark John Yoo writing a rationale to allow CIA investigators to use torture in their interrogations, and we all know how smooth that thing went down.
- A blogger for the Christian Post who has written a whole bunch about how he used to be a homosexual before “quitting” that lifestyle for the Lord was found trolling for dudes on Grindr.
- The police chief of Pike Bay, Minnesota responded to a pro-choice post on his Facebook page made with reasonable tact and proper force. Just kidding! He called the woman writing it a “piece of shit scum sucking baby killing bitch.”
- Here's one reason Lawrence Wright's new Scientology book Going Clear is worth a read: It took fact-checkers an insane amount of time to make sure there wasn't a bunch of misinformation in it.
- Remember last week's mention of Israel admitting to giving Ethiopian Jews birth-control injections without them actually knowing? Turns out that might not be entirely true.
- And Our Person(s) of the Week: Megan Phelps-Roper and her younger sister Grace, one-time members of that Westboro Baptist Church thing, who chose to leave the church. Megan, particularly, is a big deal, seeing as she was one of the church's most vocal proponents on Twitter, leaving behind a decent-sized hole in their social media presence. Welcome to the real world, ladies. It's awesome out here.
Previously - The Ravens Are God's Favorites
[Update: An earlier version of this article incorrectly reported that there was no record of the CIA using a vaccine drive to obtain the DNA of bin Laden's relatives. Learn more about the CIA's actions here.]